Zenora Polk and family are recognized. (Courtesy Photo)

The Mid-South Transplant Foundation (MSTF) kicked off Donate Life ECHO (Every Community Has Opportunity to Donate Life) with a summer movie screening series at local churches to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation in multicultural communities.

The national campaign, ending July 21, highlights minorities sharing their stories of organ donation in the community as well as online. Nationally, nearly 60 percent of the transplant waiting list are minorities, including African Americans and Latinos. Additionally, transplant success rates for African Americans are increased when donor is African American.

The purpose is to provide insightful information and incite meaningful dialogue about the impact of donation in the African American community. During the first screening at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Zenora Polk, a member currently living with no kidneys, shared her story of hope and her need for atleast one kidney.

“Organ donation, I feel it’s very important. I’m in the process of being evaluated for kidney donation, so soon, very soon, I will have a kidney.”

Randa Lipman, MSTF manager of community outreach, was onsite for a Q & A period, where she answered questions about prospective organ donor health, the donation process and how to register to become a donor. “One donor can save up to eight lives,” she said.

The movie screening series will continue with the following churches: The Place of the Outpouring – Olivet Fellowship, Wednesday, July 25 ; New Direction Christian Church, Sunday, July 29 and Brown Missionary Baptist Church, Wednesday, August 22.

“We have been committed to public education about organ and tissue donation, and we are elated that our faith-based partners continue to support this life-saving work,” says Kim Van Frank, executive director.

“We never miss an opportunity to dispel myths and share stories of hope to raise awareness in our service area, especially in multicultural communities where the need for organ donors is the greatest.”

The general public is invited to these screenings to enjoy a family-friendly movie and receive information about organ and tissue donation from MSTF representatives, including opportunities to register onsite.

(For more information on Donate Life ECHO, the movie screenings or to register to become an organ and tissue donor, visit www.midsouthtransplant.org.)